Woodbury recently welcomed three new members to its Board of Trustees; Maria Alvarez, veteran technology executive, Ignacio Rodriguez, principal at IR Architects and 2007 Woodbury alumnus, and Claire Thompson, a design industry leader.
The Woodbury University Board of Trustees serves as the institution’s primary governing body, overseeing policy, academics and appointments. Trustees serve for a minimum of three years.
New Board of Trustees
Having served for more than 20 years as a senior leader in the software development/Internet field, Alvarez brings to the Board international experience as Chief Technology Officer and Product Management head, leading both product and technology teams. Previous posts include Chief-of-Staff for Yahoo’s CTO; Engineering VP & Tech PMO for Yahoo Technology; and Engineering VP & Chief of Staff, Yahoo, Search & Advertising. She also served as CTO and product head for Panda Security, the first cloud antivirus security company in Spain. Earlier in her career, Alvarez served with CoCreate Software GmbH & Co., Hewlett Packard and Symantec Corp. She earned an M.S. in Computer Science from Cal Poly Pomona and a B.S. in Information Technology Engineering from Universidad Tecnologica, Valencia, Venezuela. She completed both the Executive Leadership Development program at Stanford University and UCLA’s Technical Management Program.
In 2017, Alvarez partnered with Microsoft to endow a new Microsoft Applied Computer Science Scholarship Fund at Woodbury, donating $10,000 toward establishing the fund, which is aimed at providing greater opportunity for minority student entry into the tech sector. She arranged for the company to match the donation, for a grand total of $20,000.
IR Architects is an elite Los Angeles-based firm specializing in contemporary architectural design for multi-million dollar residences and estates within Los Angeles’ burgeoning luxury real estate market. Rodriguez also serves as CEO of AVR Studio, which develops mixed-reality projects that pioneer new and exciting ways for clients and developers to view and experience their projects.
In keeping with the Woodbury tradition of giving back, in 2016 Rodriguez created a series of merit-based scholarships for the School of Architecture and sponsored ‘IR Architects Studio’ on campus during the 2017/2018 academic year. The sponsorship seeks to contribute to student education in the initial studio year through increased access to construction techniques and skill-building, and expands the school’s capacity to provide high-quality education to the broadest range of students.
Thompson’s design work spans national and international projects, focusing on interiors, architecture and product design, for clients that include Warner Bros., DreamWorks Records, Lifetime, A+E Networks, East West Bank, American Realty Capital, Milestone Partners, Los Angeles Community College District and Woodbury University, among others.
An entrepreneur at heart, Thompson built her own boutique design firm on two separate occasions. She previously held leadership positions in leading nationally-recognized architecture/interiors firms, including Rowland Design, Gensler, and Perkins & Will. She has served on the Board of Directors for various design industry professional organizations, including ASID and IIDA, as well as the Organization of Women Executives. She has also developed design curriculum for several college Interior Design programs.
Thompson earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design from Purdue University. She is NCIDQ Certified and a Certified Interior Designer in the State of California.
Underscoring her commitment to education, she conceptualized and initiated the Student Scholarship Fund, which is awarding $30,000 in scholarships to Southern California college/university design students this year, and now maintains a self-sustaining fund into six figures.
“Maria, Ignacio and Claire are all longtime stalwarts of Woodbury, and their contributions to the university have already had a profound effect on our students,” said Greg Lippe, Board Chair. “Their involvement in the Woodbury community complements their professional accomplishments in their respective fields. Above all, our newest trustees embrace Woodbury’s commitment to providing an interactive learning environment that transforms students into innovative professionals. We welcome their service and we value their dedication to this institution.”
“Personal and civic responsibility, creativity and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of a Woodbury education, and so too are these qualities reflected in our Board of Trustees,” said David Steele-Figueredo, President of Woodbury University. “All three new trustees will further diversify the make-up of the Board. Even prior to their Board service, they have enriched the university in countless ways. We cherish their involvement and the example they set for the Woodbury community.”